I’m not really a sucker for tradition (in skincare or anything else), but even I have to admit that when our ancestors weren’t busy smearing mercury-laden blush onto their cheeks or dropping dead from makeup-related lead poisoning, they were doing some things right. Like moisturizing their skin with oils.
Facial oils are some of the oldest beauty products around. From ancient Egypt and classical Greece to imperial China and feudal Japan, people have used oils on their skin since pretty much the dawn of known civilization. And after a couple months of experimentation, I am right there with the Fiddys of antiquity. Facial oils are awesome. They keep my tretface comfortably moisturized and heal my skin up when I’ve gone at it too hard with actives. Here are the oils I choose from every day and how they fit into my my skincare routine. I’ve paired each method with the oil I do it with most often, but they’ll work no matter which oil you use!
Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil
This was the oil that started it all, and I acquired it almost by accident. An AB exchanger was destashing some products that hadn’t worked out for her. I mostly wanted her Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil (which ended up being one of my favorite products of 2015!), but since I was also moderately intrigued by Blossom Jeju products, I picked up her Camellia Soombi Essence Oil as well. No regrets.
Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil ingredients: Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Canola Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Bisabolol (LOL), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Quercetin, Astaxanthin, Fragrance
Camellia seed oil has a long history in East Asian beauty treatments, most famously in Japan (where it’s known as tsubaki oil–maybe you’ve heard of it), and modern research provides some insight into its legendary beautifying powers. Highly emollient, camellia seed oil sinks into the microscopic crevices between cells, creating a smoother and more supple appearance and texture. The antioxidants it contains help protect skin from wrinkle-accelerating free radical damage. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can encourage increased collagen production. And it’s lightweight enough for even oilier complexions to enjoy, as my fellow Snailcaster Tracy demonstrated in her review of Blossom Jeju’s pure camellia seed oil on Fanserviced-B.
Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil blends camellia seed oil with a number of other moisturizing and antioxidant-rich botanical oils. Tocopherol (vitamin E), quercetin, and astaxanthin further boost skin’s defenses against free radicals. The fatty acid caprylic/capric triglyceride helps restore damaged barriers and repair skin.
When I first used this product, I had no idea what to expect. Facial oils can be intimidating for those of us who were taught (wrongly) that all oil is bad for skin. This one’s light consistency and pretty smell made it pleasant to use and easy to get used to, though. Camellia seed oil is one of the drier-feeling oils, making the Camellia Soombi Essence Oil remarkably thin and fast-absorbing, and its subtle, slightly spicy jasmine fragrance is heavenly.
The main issue I had with the Camellia Soombi Essence Oil was its lack of slip. Since camellia seed oil is a drier oil, it can be hard to apply evenly without tugging at skin or using too much product. It is also the least moisturizing of all my facial oils. If you’re looking for something to occlude and repair very dry or dehydrated skin, this may not be enough.
On the other hand, if you don’t need ultra-intense moisturization, the lightness of this oil makes it unusually versatile. This is the only oil I would use full-face during the day, for example. It’s also the oil I reach for when I’m in a hurry to finish my routine at night, since I don’t have to wait long for it to settle into my skin.
How I like to use Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil: I apply a couple of drops of Camellia Soombi Essence Oil immediately after taking off my nightly sheet mask, while my skin is still a little wet. Damp skin absorbs product better, so the oil vanishes into my skin in minutes, locking in excess sheet mask essence, too. Overnight, this gives me supple, glowily moisturized skin that looks rested and healthy even when I’m not. And that megadose of antioxidants is a nice bonus.
Conclusion: I’m really pleased with Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil. It isn’t the most moisturizing or reparative oil I have, but it’s the easiest to use and gives reliably nice results. A little goes a long way and my first bottle still has months and months of use left, but this is high on my repurchase list, even though a second bottle has already shown up at my door, tucked into a care package from Christine Chang at Glow Recipe.
Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil is $70 for 30ml at Glow Recipe.
Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil
If any more of my impulse purchases turn out as well as Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil and Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil, I’m going to start getting some dangerous ideas about listening to my instincts and buying everything that catches my eye. I tossed the Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil into my Jolse cart on a whim while restocking my Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Cream a couple of months ago. At the time, I was bummed that Mamonde’s luscious Rose Honey Sleeping Mask didn’t agree with my skin and hoped a different product from the brand would work out better.
Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil ingredients (via Hwahae app, which I know how to use now! Yay!): Caprylic/capric triglyceride, squalane, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, camellia japonica seed oil, dextrin palmitate, camellia japonica flower extact, camellia japonica leaf extract, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, fragrance
The first thing I noticed about the ingredients in my second “camellia oil” was how far down I had to read before I actually found camellia seed oil. Given that the product is named Age Control Camellia Oil, I was a little annoyed. Mamonde isn’t exactly the first company ever to make an ingredient in the bottom half of the list the star of the product’s marketing, though, and for once, the ingredients ahead of it actually look promising. Caprylic/capric triglyceride, as I mentioned in the Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil review, is a well regarded moisturizing and skin-repairing fatty acid. So is squalane, which comes right after. I imagined this product would be a nice level up from the Blossom Jeju.
That’s exactly what Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil is. Though not much thicker than Blossom Jeju’s essence oil, Mamonde’s has a more substantial and oil-like consistency. It’s tangibly more nourishing but also slower to sink in. It does spread more easily than the Blossom Jeju, though, allowing me to use less product and prevent accidental greasyface. Like the Blossom Jeju oil, Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil is fragranced, though the Mamonde’s clean, green botanical smell is milder than the Blossom Jeju’s sexy jasmine scent.
The anti-aging effects of the Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil are remarkable. Consistently over several weeks of testing and comparison to my other oils, it made my skin not just extra supple and moisturized, but also noticeably plumper, firmer, and smoother, my fine lines dramatically reduced. Those effects last through most of the day, too.
Besides the minor inconvenience of having to wait a few minutes longer for this oil to sink in compared to the Blossom Jeju Camellia Soombi Essence Oil, I haven’t found anything about the Mamonde oil’s performance to complain about. My biggest gripe with it is that the 15ml tube is tiny, and that’s only a gripe because I love the Mamonde so much. It’s my favorite oil so far and the one I recommend the most.
How I like to use Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil: Since it comes in such a small size (sigh), I do try to conserve as much product as I can without sacrificing the benefits I use it for. On most nights, I dab it onto my undereye and crow’s feet areas after eye cream. The skin around my eyes needs those plumping and smoothing powers the most, and few things feel better than waking up to firm, unlined undereyes. I sometimes use it during the day as well. The Beauty and the Cat girls gave me the idea during a conversation on Instagram, suggesting the tiniest drop rubbed between my ring fingers then patted on under my eyes. That small amount sinks in fine, prevents makeup from settling into the crevices there, and keeps fine lines away all day long so that I can continue to live in denial of my rapidly increasing age.
Conclusion: It might not have as much camellia oil as its name implies, but it’s definitely not lying about the age control. I can’t get over how well Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil erases the fine lines I’m getting now that aging, much like Cthulhu emerging from the ocean, has become a solid reality in my life, not just a spectral fear. And it’s very affordable. I may have already put in an order for uhhhhhh a few backup tubes.
Mamonde Age Control Camellia Oil is $11.88 for 15ml at Jolse.
Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil**
The thing about using actives the way I do is that bad things happen sometimes. I never skip a day of tretinoin, I boost my AHA and BHA with an acid toner and use them as frequently as my skin can tolerate, and I regularly push my skin’s limits on purpose to see if it’s ready to handle more. I also may or may not sometimes intentionally overexfoliate to give my “repairing” products a real challenge. What I’m saying is that my skin sometimes demands truly intensive care. This is where Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil, sent to me by the tireless and tirelessly awesome Janice of Club Clio USA, comes in.
Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil ingredients: Macadamia ternifolia seed oil, macadamia integrifolia seed oil, camellia sinensis seed oil, camellia japonica seed oil, argania spinosa (argan) kernel oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, monascus extract, rosa canina fruit oil, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, borago officinalis seed oil, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, crambe abyssinca seed oil, carthamus tinctorus (safflower) seed oil, prunus armeniaca (apricot) seed oil, citrus limon (lemon) fruit oil, ocimum basilicum (basil) oil, geranium maculatum oil, eugenia caryophyllus (clove) leaf oil, rosa damascena flower oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, glyceryl caprylate, caprylyl glycol, ubiquinone
Camellia seed oil again! It isn’t the top-billed star of this product, though. Like other Goodal skincare products, the Repair Plus Essential Oil features a signature mix of fermented seed oils. Here, macadamia ternifolia and macadamia integrifolia seed oils lead, followed by an extensive supporting cast ready to contribute deeply moisturizing essential fatty acids, skin-protecting antioxidants, and calming, healing, and anti-inflammatory compounds galore.
I could live without the lemon fruit oil down in the bottom half of the list, though. Based on the hint of citrus aroma that the product gives off, I’m guessing it’s included for the fragrance, which just isn’t a compelling reason to include a potentially risky ingredient. Depending on how they’re processed, citrus oils can be photosensitizing and can even cause phototoxicity with UV exposure. There’s probably only a tiny amount of lemon oil in this product and therefore only a tiny risk even if the dangerous compounds in the lemon oil haven’t been removed, but I only use the Repair Plus Essential Oil at night, just in case. Phototoxic skin reactions are no joke.
Saving it for nighttime works out fine anyway. Significantly richer and heavier than either my Mamonde or Blossom Jeju oils, Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil takes quite a while to sink in and leaves behind a fine but visible occlusive layer on my skin. There’s no way I could use it straight during the day. It’s an oil with heft.
That heft comes in handy whenever I’ve irritated, overexfoliated, or otherwise compromised my skin or when my eczema flares up. A drop or two dabbed onto dry, dehydrated, flaking, peeling, or inflamed patches instantly calms sensitivity and holds things together when they’re trying to fall apart. Even on my neck, where the skin gets like tissue paper (to clarify, this is a bad thing) if I use my actives just one consecutive night too many, overexfoliation heals up noticeably faster when I use the Goodal oil.
How I like to use Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil: Though I apply it straight when I’m using it as an emergency skin fix, I’d be pretty sad if I couldn’t also integrate the Repair Plus Essential Oil into my regular skincare routine once in a while. Unfortunately, its heavier consistency can make that difficult. I don’t usually put this oil all over my face and then follow up with a cream, the way I might with a thinner product. Instead, when I want a hit of those fancy fermented seed oils but don’t want to feel them on me all night long, I mix a few drops into my moisturizing cream. My skin gets the extra-rich moisture it wants, and something about mixing the product into a cream drastically reduces its tendency to form a gleaming coat of oil on my face.
Conclusion: It’s a little too heavy for daytime or everyday use, and the small but very real risk incurred by the lemon oil in the ingredients is unnecessary and annoying, but overall, I’ve been finding Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil incredibly useful. It does a great job of replenishing moisture and restoring elasticity to my skin when it’s stripped and dry, and it works amazingly well at mending my skin when it’s falling apart from overuse of actives. I don’t use my Repair Plus Essential Oil as often as I use my other oils, but when I do, I’m always glad I have it. It’s definitely helped me reduce the consequences of my reckless attitude towards actives.
Goodal Repair Plus Essential Oil is $35 for 45ml at Club Clio USA.
Do you use any facial oil? Which are your favorites and which haven’t worked out for you?
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